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22 March 2013

A Tour of Malia, Crete, Old and New

Malia Beach at sunset in Crete, Greece. Photo: Henry Jackson Photography. Unauthorized use is prohibited.
Malia Beach at sunset in Crete, Greece. Photo: Henry Jackson Photography. Unauthorized use is prohibited.

One of the strange juxtapositions of European beach holidays is the wild mix of modernity and antiquity, that in a single location you can experience a fun and crazy nightlife and then spend your day exploring the deep past of human civilizations. Such is the case with iconic destinations like the Greek village of Malia, where Cretan partygoers might mend their hangovers in close proximity to budding archaeologists eager to wander pre-Homeric sites. Be it for hedonism or intellectualism, Malia holidays provide an opportunity to revel in pleasures both contemporary and historical.

The centre of Minoan civilization in the Bronze Age, modern-day Malia is today a world-class beach resort teeming with restaurants, hotels, and nightclubs. In fact, in recent years Malia has become one of the most popular tourist locations not just of Crete but also the whole of Europe, rivalling Ibiza and Magaluf for top choices among young British tourists. Consequently, there are sites devoted to helping you book flights, hotels, and last minute deals to Malia.

Malia at Night. Photo: Shaun Woods. Unauthorized use is prohibited.
Malia at Night. Photo: Shaun Woods. Unauthorized use is prohibited.

The town is composed of a bustling main street, a long strip of idyllic sand, and a charming old-village section. There is a huge variety of restaurants to sample; among the favourites are the Greek cuisine of Maliaport, the international menu at Eva Taverna, and the Mexican fare at Gringos Restaurant & Bar. Accommodations cover an equally wide spectrum, from the family-friendly luxury of the Hotel Cretan Park to the self-catering convenience of the Maria Rousse Studios. There is no shortage of nightclubs to while away the evening/morning hours, where the action hits peak levels during the warm summer months.

The Ruins at Malia Palace in Crete, Greece. Photo: Andrew Skudders. Unauthorized use is prohibited.
The Ruins at Malia Palace in Crete, Greece. Photo: Andrew Skudders. Unauthorized use is prohibited.

Now, back to ancient Greece… if one were so inclined to explore the past, the ruins of the Malia Palace await just 3 kilometres east of the town centre. Discovered in the early 20th century, this ancient Minoan cultural centre dates back 4,000 years and is believed to have been levelled by a late Bronze Age earthquake. Walking through the ruins, a comfortable distance from the party streets of Malia, one can enjoy the quiet reprieve of this ancient palace and imagine the wild nights of long ago along this scenic coast of Crete.

The best time to travel to Malia depends on your particular taste for fun. After the wild and raucous summer months, the area starts to quiet down around mid-September. Temperatures start warming in June (22 °C), stay hot until September (24 °C), and then cool to an annual low of 8 °C by December/January.

This voyage to Crete was brought to you by Thomson Holidays! 

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20 comments:

  1. We've been to Crete twice and are returning there this spring. Your post only made me want to start packing now! Beautiful photos.

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    1. Hi there Jackie and thank you so much for stopping by to share your experiences. And now, you're on your way back for a 3rd time...how sublime! I certainly hope you plan to share pics on your blog. Have a wonderful time!

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  2. Dear Jeff,

    It has been long ago that we spent 3 weeks on Crete. I like the island's atmosphere. Right now the weather over here is that cold, that your pictures add extra warmth.

    Happy Sunday to you
    Gereon

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    1. Hi there Gereon and thanks so much for stopping by to share your experiences! I have never been but all of Greece is high on my bucket list. For now, I live vicariously through guest posts like this.

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  3. I will sound stupid when I say this but I have to be honest. This is the first time I see this side of Crete. The town is so quaint that it looks like it's a setting for an old fairy tale! :)

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    1. Hi there Angel and please know, you could never sound stupid for such warm sentiments about any of the destinations I feature. I am all about "fairy tale villages" so keep these comments coming. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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    2. So well spoken Jeff! And though this blog is not as long as your blogs usually are, also this one really was a nice read! Thanks!!
      Els

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    3. Hi there Els and thank you for stopping by! Yes, agreed this is a shorter post but have to shake things up once in awhile ; )

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  4. Malia looks like an interesting place to visit. As all Greece, I see there are vestiges of past times, and also great landscapes. Looks like an enjoyable and also relaxing place!

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    1. Hi there Lori and thanks for sharing your thoughts! Yes, age-old vestiges that continue to captivate all those lucky enough to experience them in person!

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  5. You've opened my eyes to a new world! I've never been to this part of Europe but would love to experience the history and beautiful beaches.

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    1. Hi there Debbie and thx so much for stopping by and commenting. I too, long to visit Greece. Perhaps we'll go together!!

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  6. This place looks wonderful Jeff.

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    1. Hi Lorenzo,

      I couldn't agree with you more! I would love to spend a week touring all of Greece!!! Thx so much for stopping by my friend!

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  7. Hi Jeff. Just to say like your blog and look forward to reading more of your travels.If you come to Crete again try Hersonnesos that's near Malia also Agios Nikolas We live quite near to all. Hope you get my comment this time.

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    1. Hi there Rita and thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind compliments as well. Wow, you live there! How extraordinary it must be! I will definitely let you know. Thanks again.

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  8. Amazing photos! This post has definitely inspired me to visit Greece.

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    1. HI there Lesley and thank you so very much for your kind words! I too, want to visit more than ever!

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  9. Malia certainly had it's heyday. I stayed at the other end of the island at Rethymnon, but the whole island is incredibly rugged and beautiful.

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    1. HI there Jo! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your tips for my readers! We all need to set out and explore the entire island!

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Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!